Period. End Of Sentence wins an Oscar in 2019
The award for “best documentary short’ subject is not usually a big deal.
But like Period stigma that has just changed.
This year’s winner, “Period. End of Sentence,” deals with the unfair stigma of menstruation in parts of the world and its negative impact on girls and women – but it also produced one of the best moments of the night when its 25-year-old director reached the stage.
“I’m not crying because I’m on my period or anything,” said Rayka Zehtabchi, smiling through tears. “I can’t believe a film about menstruation won an Oscar.”
The film involved a partnership between high school students in Los Angeles and partners in a rural part of India, noted producer Melissa Berton.
“A period should end a sentence, not a girl’s education,” she noted at the end of her thanks.
Menstrual equity—the fight to ensure that women who get their periods have access to the products and support they need—is a hard fight.
As women we silently fight the stigma because some people find it too “gross” to talk about. We also forget about how far-reaching the issue is, impacting women who are homeless, wealthy or poor.
Rayka Zehtabchi and Melissa Berton went up to accept the award, surrounded by other women. The film shows women in Hapur, India, who work to make affordable sanitary pads out of recycled materials and also educate their communities about menstruation to help end the stigma.
It’s by far the most uplifting of the Documentary Shorts that were nominated, and it shows not only how women are making their voices heard, but how even people who feel too small to make an impact can change a lot of lives. The documentary is on Netflix now.
The fact of this film winning, of “menstrual equality” getting uttered onstage at the Academy Awards, is a miracle to anyone who has been following this issue.
Period stigma is dangerous: In a lot of places in the U.S., women don’t have access to menstrual products they need, be it because of access or price or embarrassment.
In India, where the film takes place, a period can often make a girl miss school. In plenty of places in the world, a period could mean a woman faces violence.
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